In science fiction, technologies mediating human-computer interaction is a common topic allowing us to envisage how new emerging devices and systems may continue to redefine even further the interrelationships between humans and the world outside.
What can science fiction tell us about the future of journalism? How might we think about physical news?
As part of two winter research projects we’ll be taking inspiration from sci-fi novels and physical computing to gather inspiration for imagining journalism of the future. Over six weeks, well be looking at how writers have imagined how news and information might be communicated in the future and investigating the possibilities for physical news experiences. The aim is to create some provocation material for a design workshop later in the year.
At the University of Queensland we’ve been teaching interaction design to journalism students for some time and noticed that many struggled with the uncertainty that surrounds designing. Design is about imagining possibilities and, unlike writing a news story, you often don’t know where the process will lead.
Design workbooks or journals are valuable tools in generating ideas and documenting design work. They are useful throughout the Journalism Design process but particularly in the early stages of Discover and Imagine.
Design workbooks are collections of research, materials, ideas and proposals, and play an important role in helping to understand the nature of a problem and the possibilities for solving it.
The JxD process is almost completed and will be available on this site very soon along with some additional resources. Representing the process and all of it’s ‘layers’ (we think that’s a good way to describe this) has been challenging. This final representation has been the result of a few steps, perhaps the most important being a design workshop around the JxD process. We originally designed a framework – a structure for thinking about Journalism Design, but as a result of the workshop, we realised we needed a process instead. Here’s a quick summary of how that workshop ran and what it produced.
The contextual phase of our research aimed to understand how the 2016 cohort of Journalism Design students imagined the future of journalism. We were interested in how they used design methods and how and when they considered journalistic values. To do this, we studied the design projects and reflective essays created by students as part of course assessment and we interviewed some about their experience. A few themes emerged from the data: that journalistic values played an important role in the design process; that journalism needed to focus more strongly on audiences and users; and that new ideas would come from thinking big.
So far we have created two versions of the Journalism Design process. The first was developed at the end of 2016 based on data gathered from students. We presented this concept to a design workshop in early 2017 and redesigned the concept based on insights from participants.
We’re using a design approach to develop the JxD process. Like most design research, the methodology involves phases of contextual research, designing, evaluating, implementation and redesign. It is a practice-led approach to research, which uses design techniques as tools for investigation.
The Journalism Design project aims to develop tools to teaching design methods to journalism students in a way that equips them for future careers. Clearly, journalism is at a point of radical change and to remain viable it needs to create new news formats and experiences that are not bound by traditional newsroom practices. This means that journalism education needs strategies to teach students how to come up with novel and creative ways to use technology.